Feeding practices and stunting in children aged 0-23 months in Zambia: analysis of the Zambia demographic and health survey 2013-14 data

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Chanda, Hussen
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The University of Zambia
Stunting is currently one of the prominent health and welfare problems among infants and young children in Zambia. Feeding practices have a bearing on the nutritional status of children. This study aimed to establish the association between feeding practices and stunting among children between 0 and 23 months old in Zambia. Bivariate analysis and logistic regression were applied to the 2013/14 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey data using the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS). Stunting was found to be increasing with age; reaching the peak (12.8%) among children in the age group 18 -23 months; and lowest (0.4%) among children below one month. Stunting was higher among male children (20.1%) than their female counterparts (15.5%, p < 0.001). Children who were very small at birth had higher odds of being stunted compared to those who were very large, (AOR = 5.61, 95% CI: 2.50, 12.58). Children whose mothers were had 46% higher chances of being stunted than their counterparts whose mothers had normal body size (AOR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.07, 2.00). Stunting levels significantly declined with improved wealth status from the poorest to the richest (18.7% among the poor and 9.6% among the rich). Among the morbidity variables, the cough was significantly associated with stunting (AOR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.62, 0.96). The study recommended that there is a need to initiate and support existing programs that promote breastfeeding education to mothers; and the need to improve the living conditions and livelihood of the poorest who are worst affected by stunting. The study also recommended a multisectoral approach to interventions against stunting by taking stock of all relevant actors in the area of nutrition and narrow the interventions to specific drivers of stunting across sectors. KEYWORDS: children (0-23 months), stunting, feeding practices, ZDHS, Zambia
Malnutrition in children--Zambia--Prevention. , Infants--Zambia--Growth. Children--Zambia--Growth.